165,000 children in Mali threatening by nutrition crisis: UNICEF

A nutrition crisis, exacerbated by continuing violence, instability and displacement in Mali, is threatening the lives and futures of thousands of children in the West African country, UNICEF warned on Monday (October 9).

In a report published on Monday, the agency said that an estimated 165,000 children were expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition across Mali in 2018, up from a total of 142,000 registered this year.

The survey shows acute malnutrition of children in Timbuktu has risen to 15.7 per cent and in Gao to 15.2 per cent, a worrying rise from “serious” to “critical” level on the World Health Organisation’s classification scale. Serious levels of acute malnutrition were also recorded in the regions of Kayes (14.2%) and Taoudéni (14.3%), while the national rate is 10.7%.

“Behind these figures are the lives of the most vulnerable and forgotten girls and boys in Mali,” said UNICEF Representative Lucia Elmi. “We must provide life-saving treatment and ensure each and every one of these children can fully recover. At the same time, we need to invest in the critical first 1000 days of the lives of children to reduce the risk of acute malnutrition from occurring in the first place.”

Children who suffer from the severe form of acute malnutrition have grave muscle wasting, very low weight for their height, and are nine times more likely to die in case of disease – such as diarrhea or malaria – due to a weakened immune system.

Since the 2012 political and security crisis in Mali, violence and instability have led to displacements of population and disruption of social services in the north of the country, with detrimental impact on the nutritional status of the most vulnerable girls and boys.


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